Nothing screams summer fun like roasting marshmallows around an open fire, and few things accentuate the outdoorsy feel of your backyard like a fire pit. However, a cozy fire can quickly become a hazard without the proper outdoor fire pit safety measures.
Before you check out the stellar outdoor living space services in Monroe, Washington, from Pacific Outdoor Living, be sure to understand how to prevent dangerous scenarios. Our experts in outdoor living and safety have compiled the top three outdoor fire pit safety tips to help you prevent accidents and injuries.
Different Types of Fire Pits
When planning your custom fire pit, you’ll need to consider the level of permanence you desire and what kind of fuel your fire pit will take. These factors will determine the outdoor fire pit safety measures you’ll need to implement to ensure the most risk-free environment for you and your family.
Permanent vs. Portable Fire Pits
If you’re hoping to create a central gathering space in your backyard with modern materials that mesh well with your home’s exterior design, perhaps a permanent fire pit is best for you. As the name suggests, permanent fire pits are a stationary fixture in your outdoor space. Choosing a permanent fire pit requires you to place it carefully, as the location will determine the level of danger it presents.
For example, you should never place outdoor fire pits close to your home, a wood deck, or plants, as these structures and objects could easily catch fire. Your city ordinances may have a specific distance requirement. Generally, we recommend placing the fire pit at a minimum of 15 to 20 feet away from any buildings or flammable materials.
A portable fire pit may come in many shapes and sizes, such as a copper, steel, or cast iron fire bowl, a fire table, or a freestanding fire pit called a chiminea. Because you can move portable fire pits around, they may prove easier to maintain safety on any given day since you can adjust the position of the fire pit based on wind conditions.
However, you’ll still need to consider the materials you use to start and maintain the fire, the distance from buildings, plants, and guests, and the area surrounding the fire pit. We don’t recommend placing a portable fire pit on grass or a wood deck, as doing so can become dangerous if embers fly and catch the wood or grass on fire.
You can make both permanent and portable fire pits completely safe. Which build you choose depends on the size of your space and your style preferences.
Wood-Fired vs. Gas Fire Pits
Homeowners can choose from three primary methods of starting a fire: wood, propane, or natural gas. Some prefer the crackle and distinctive scent of wood-burning fire pits, which require a consistent supply of firewood. Others enjoy the immediacy of a gas or propane fire pit.
Wood-burning fires present slightly more risk with the crackle and pop of embers, but all three methods require a series of safety measures to prevent fire emergencies. You may have more freedom to choose the location for a gas or propane fire pit, given the lack of embers flying, but you should still keep your fire pit away from your home and any surrounding trees or flammable materials.
Fire pits of any style can add an extra spark to your outdoor living area and create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere for you and your family. Below, we’ve listed some of the most essential outdoor fire pit safety tips to keep in mind.
Fire Pit Safety Tips
1. Prepare to Extinguish the Fire
A fire pit can grant you and your family or guests a captivating, relaxing experience. On the other hand, fire can also prove quite destructive if you neglect to tend to it properly.
When lighting up your fire pit for the evening, keep a bucket and the garden hose on standby in case you need to extinguish the flames. You can also use a shovel to throw dirt onto the flames to put them out. Even keeping a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket may prove a worthy investment to prevent accidents.
2. Use the Proper Materials
In the case of wood-burning fire pits, never use construction materials such as plywood or treated pallets. Manufacturers treat these types of lumber with chemicals, resins, and adhesives that will emit toxic fumes if you burn them, which can pose a significant threat if inhaled.
Instead, use seasoned, prepared firewood. We recommend hardwood logs and kindling. You can use softwoods like pine, but be aware that softwoods may burn less and give off more wayward sparks than hardwood.
Additionally, you should never use flammable liquids like gasoline or lighter fluid to light your fire pit, as these accelerants are extremely quick to catch fire and may increase the risk of injury. Other fire-starting methods allow for a much safer spark and reduce the risk of burns and unexpected blazes.
3. Never Leave Your Fire Unattended
The last tip is one of the most critical for outdoor fire pit safety: Never, under any circumstances, leave a fire unattended. Even if the fire has dwindled to embers, it remains a fire hazard. No matter how unthreatening the tiny flame may seem, an unattended fire could have devastating consequences.
To prevent fire emergencies, designate an adult to watch the fire any time you need to step away. Alternatively, you can simply put the fire out before leaving the fire pit.
Make Unforgettable Memories With Pacific Outdoor Living
As a trusted decking and outdoor living spaces contractor in Monroe, WA, our team at Pacific Outdoor Living specializes in creating stunning custom outdoor living areas for homeowners in Monroe and the surrounding cities. Check out our informative blog to learn about some backyard improvements that can add value to your home and discover how you can elevate your outdoor space.
Now that you know the most essential outdoor fire pit safety tips, you’re ready to manage your fire pit like a pro! Contact us at (360) 863-2058 to discuss your custom fire pit today!